Let’s Think More About Spanking

Spanking is a controversial subject that parents either strongly favor or strongly oppose. Put me in the strongly oppose column.

I’m not talking about little “no no don’t touch that” pats that parents use when kids are young. I did that. And, although I hate to admit it, there were a few times when I lashed out at them.

Most parents can relate to this confession. You may even feel relieved to learn that you’re not alone and that I crossed this line too. Nevertheless, hitting was a failure, on my part, to contain my anger and express my feelings in a more mature way.

                        It’s more difficult to teach children how to manage their feelings
                                    if we are unable to handle our own.

Other reasons I’m in the against column have to do with the impact of shame and humiliation and the importance of demonstrating mutual respect. It’s true that hitting a child sometimes (not always) gets them to do what you want. However, it’s also implanting shame, humiliation, and powerlessness – feelings that can undermine their self-worth as they grow up. Why not teach kids to look at their mistakes and help them experience a consequence that fosters responsibility, maturity, and self-reflection?

Many parents adhere to the position that the spankings they got didn’t hurt them and that fearing one’s parents isn’t such a bad thing. If you feel this way, I’d like to suggest that you think back to your childhood. Remember how it really really felt to be hit. Feel the indignity and rage. Do you honestly want your children to feel these kinds of feelings about you or inside themselves?

Five Discipline Intentions

1. Try not to discipline when you’re furious.
2. When you are angry, start the discipline process by giving yourself a time out. 
    Your child can wait.
3. Express your anger with self-respect and respect for others.
4. Protect your children even when you’re furious with them.
5. When discipline frequently crosses the line seek help.

Check out this interview I did about spanking on Good Day Tampa Bay with Laura Moody.


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